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Anyone born in the pre-IT Revolution age would remember a motorcycle with a pleasant roar as the rider sped past. You would find one of these in your family, neighborhood or among your circle of friends. And if you are really lucky you would have been one of the proud owners of this iconic machine. The Yezdi brings back fond memories to riders young and old. Someone might have experienced their first motorcycle ride on the tank of their dad’s Yezdi, others might remember an uncle washing and maintaining his bike on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Still, others might have had this machine as their very first motorcycle. Each one will have their own story to tell.
As part of our search for #100Motorcycles in India, we bring to you one of the most iconic bikes to have ever graced the roads (and off-roads) of this country. The Yezdi D 250 Classic. This 258.5cc machine was perfectly placed between the Bullet 350 and the Rajdoot. The simplicity of the Yezdi allowed riders to take it on really long journeys. For Deepak Kamath, that journey on his Yezdi Roadking took him around the world in 47 days.
There are a bunch of things on this bike that makes it rather interesting and it stands apart from our run of the mill modern day motorcycles. The Yezdi had a dual cam brake at the front, which provided greater stopping power; the rear though had a single cam brake. The front and rear wheels are of the same size both use 1.86 x 16” rims. Which meant that the wheels could be interchanged! The space between the front wheel and engine also a mounting point for an extra wheel, giving the Yezdi the convenience that only scooter owners are used to! The bike also had a gearbox with an inbuilt lever which would declutch the engine while changing gears. So one could actually ride the bike to safety in case the clutch cable snapped! But the most interesting bit about the Yezdi was possibly the gear change lever! It doubled up as the kick start lever as well! Weight saving we say! The rider had to use his/ her left leg to kick start the bike and ensure that they did so carefully. The kick back was strong enough to leave the rider with considerable pain if not handled with care! The bike came with two different carburettors, the Jikov for better performance at the cost of fuel efficiency, and the Pacco for the more cost conscious lot.
The company shut shop in 1996. The arrival of the Japanese with their 4-stroke super fuel efficient motorcycles was the death knell for the strokers. Though they continued to appeal to the performance oriented rider, but the ever-increasing commuter market was always going to take centre stage.
We were lucky to get our hands on a Yezdi, but if you really want to experience this motorcycle. We recommend visiting one of the Jawa Yezdi club meets on International Jawa Day in Bangalore or Chennai. It will be an enthralling experience as you see 100s of these strokes making their way through the crowds of two-stroke smoke and the thundering sound of the engines revving. You will surely not forget that experience!
We would like to thank Jai Tokas for allowing us to ride his Yezdi and walk down memory lane with this magnificent machine.